How To Start A Dog Walking Business: Everything You Need To Know

Learning how to start a dog walking business will be a walk in the park (pun intended) with this comprehensive guide. Do you enjoy a nice stroll in the park surrounded by some furry friends? If so, a dog walking business may be the perfect venture for you.

A dog walking business is pretty much the opposite of a typical office job because you get to stay active, spend time outside, and of course, be around dogs all day. Talk about a fun spin to a lucrative business.

But take note that the lucrative aspect can be dependent on several factors. According to Glassdoor, an average dog walker in the United States makes about $28,000 every year. Yet, it’s not unheard of for dog walkers to make up to $150,000 yearly by walking dogs. Yes, you read that right!

Financially making the most out of your business entails following this checklist:

Download — Dog walking business checklist

A dog walking business might sound like fun in theory, but there is an extensive list of preparations to consider before taking this role head-on. Is there a demand for it in your area? Do you need a team of reliable dog walkers to assist you in taking more jobs? How do you plan on reassuring pet owners that their dogs are safe in your hands?

You might even be wondering if a dog walking business could be sustainable in the long run, especially with today’s public health concerns. Here’s the low down: it can absolutely be sustainable if you take the time to build and nurture a relationship with your clientele.

There is a lot to prepare for, but knowing how to start a dog walking business can be extremely rewarding in its own light. Aside from the obvious benefit (dogs!), you also get to enjoy working with freedom, flexibility, and relaxation.

In this guide, you will learn about how to start a dog walking business with these five simple steps:

1. Assess the market

2. Gain experience

3. Set a pricing structure

4. Obtain dog walking insurance

5. Promote your business

You will also get an understanding of any accreditations, insurance, and financial solutions to keep your dog walking business afloat and teeming with credibility for long-term success. Let’s get started!

5 Steps On How To Start A Dog Walking Business And Gain Trust

This may sound silly, but having a dog walking business isn’t just about walking dogs. It’s a huge responsibility, and you need to be prepared for any obstacles that come your way.

Some dog owners would go as far as to view their own dogs as their children, and for them to be in your care even just for an afternoon is a massive commitment. Show them that their beloved pets are happy, safe, and secure in your hands.

To get there, start with these five fundamental steps:

Step 1: Assess the market


The premise of supply and demand applies to almost every industry in the business world. The demand for a service directly correlates with how much supply is needed to satisfy the market. Let’s break this down in the dog walking industry!

If you observe high demand for dog walking services with little supply in your area, go ahead and begin with this venture. You may even get to price your services a little higher due to a scarce supply in the market.

On the other hand, if you notice a good amount of dog walking providers in your area, you might want to get ahead by offering competitive prices. This gives you an edge over the existing dog walking businesses in your location.

What does this chain have to do with dog walking? Everything. If your target audience is already exposed to several dog-walking businesses, you may find yourself struggling to get clients. An ample amount of research is essential before moving forward.

Step 2: Gain experience


If you were about to receive an injection, would you rather it be administered by a practiced nurse or a first-time med student? The same rule applies to dog walking. Pet owners need to know that their dogs are safe and protected when they’re not around, and that usually means trusting them with people prepared for that responsibility.

There are no specific qualifications to being a professional dog walker, but having experience in the field significantly boosts your chances of getting more customers. This isn’t exclusive to walking dogs; it also means being trained in animal first aid and care.

Look out for pet-sitting organizations and get some on-the-job training. Some clients may even look for some sort of accreditation that supports your business credibility, so it would be a practical move to dive into as many organizations, charities, and shelters as possible. First aid is often the most desired prerequisite among other dog walking skillsets.

Experience is crucial. Take as much time as you need with this step. Visit and volunteer at your local dog shelter and spend time with the animals. Observe their behaviors and interactions, and offer to assist with any medical treatments. These practices will enhance your professional standing and give your clients peace of mind.

Step 3: Set your pricing structure


If you took the time to assess your market, you probably have a good idea of the level of demand in your area, which makes it easier for you to determine your pricing. How much are your competitors charging for a day of work? Offer competitive prices to get your business in motion, especially as you are starting out.

You may also provide potential customers with the option to pay in advance for a month of daily walks at a discounted price. This exchange gives your clients convenience and you immediate income to start planning out your next moves.

How do your competitors set their dog walking schedules? Use this information wisely and develop a process that would pull potential clients to you.

For example, if you notice that the dog walking businesses in your area work between specific hours, you could aim for messaging that lets customers know that your schedule is their schedule. You’re there when they need your services, and it’s as simple as that. This is another point in their convenience that helps them gravitate towards you.

Come up with a list of pricing packages that you feel would appeal to the potential customers in your area. Daily plans, monthly plans, and hey, maybe even a stamp card that grants them 25% off for every six purchases. At the end of the day, let your customers know they have convenience and flexibility should they choose you to take care of their dogs.

Step 4: Obtain dog walking insurance


Yes, it’s a real thing.

Having a dog walking business isn’t all rainbows and butterflies. Dogs can be boisterous, and accidents do happen. It’s possible to encounter some mishaps with property damage or injuries, whether in the dogs or anyone and anything else. This isn’t a sure occurrence, but it’s best to be prepared for worst-case scenarios.

Remember to insure yourself and your dog walking business for any potential accidents. Don’t forget that dogs have a personality of their own. Some of them could cozy up to you right away, and some may need more time before they trust you. Before you earn that trust, it’s possible that they would be a little wary of you and act up in their own way.

This is also precisely why experience plays a fundamental role in the industry. Then again, there will always be situations you can’t predict. Insurance comes in handy in these times, and it makes it that your business doesn’t go under for any possible mishaps.

If you need help looking for dog walking insurance, look no further. To learn more about which dog walking insurance would work the best for you and your needs, check out this resource.

Step 5: Promote your business

To successfully have a dog walking business, you need to promote it with brand marketing strategies. One of the most important steps is to create a website that features all the happy dogs you’ve walked, feedback from grateful dog owners, and accessibility for new customers to enlist your services.

Use social media to your advantage too. Again, dogs have a personality of their own. Post pictures and videos of the dogs enjoying themselves on their walk, and engage with your audience, with the dogs being the star of the show. And isn’t that the way it should be? Just don’t forget to get consent from the owners first.

Don’t shy away from using hashtags, either. Who would say no to puppy content? For example, if you are a dog walker in New York, try using the hashtag #newyorkdogs. Have fun with it!

For one thing, nothing beats word-of-mouth marketing. Be as connected as you can with the dogs you walk and their owners, enough for them to vouch for you to their peers. Give everyone involved a delightful and safe experience, and you will likely be recommended to all sorts of people that need assistance.

You may also want to create flyers with your business name and logo. Give it to everyone and place it everywhere. Never forget about advertising in the real world — it’s just as helpful.

Speaking of a dog walking business logo and business name, it’s time to create a title and design that sparks reliability and trust to help dog owners believe in your business and capabilities.

Design A Paw-fect Dog Walking Business Logo In 6 Easy Steps

Are you a professional dog walker? Why not get a dog walking business logo to strengthen your branding and build credibility? Find out why it’s important and how to make one below!

A logo is the face of your dog walking business, potentially setting it apart from others doing the same thing. Your dog walking business needs proper branding to build a rock-solid foundation. A logo is a huge step in the right direction.

Good business branding allows you to form a bond with your target audience, inclining them to learn more about you and engage with you.

A distinctive dog walking business logo elevates your brand, but more importantly, it provides credibility — a crucial attribute for any brand to have from the start.

Building your dog walking business logo promotes trust between you and potential customers, which is vital as they would be relying on you for the safety and well-being of their pups.

When you build a connection with your audience through effective branding, your inch your way closer to easy brand recognition.

A strong logo is a huge step to help you get there, and with our logo maker to guide you, your visual branding needs are set and ready for the world to see.

But before we get to that, here are some valuable steps you should consider to make your dog walking business stand out from the competition.

How To Make Your Dog Walking Business Stand Out

Your dog walking business logo is essential, but there are other ways to stand out and make a good impression.

A 2021 dog walking study assessed the market before and during the peak of the global pandemic. The frequency of walks among dogs (and even humans) drastically decreased due to the virus.

The findings emphasized a strong need for dog walkers to be prepared to meet the needs of these pets, including access to care and emergency supplies. According to the study, “conditions that require others to take care of an individual’s pets are likely.

Fortunately, this market can be lucrative because some pet owners who have or are scared to contract the virus need assistance for their dogs’ walking needs. But you must come prepared and proceed with caution for your and the client’s sake.

Branding is essential, but here are other valuable tips to consider:

  • Find out as much as you can about possible competitors
  • Be accommodating and friendly to your clients and their dogs
  • Build a bond with your clients — connect with them genuinely
  • Get to know the dogs — owners can tell if their pets are comfortable with you
  • Reassure owners that safety is your number one priority and honestly believe it
  • Find the right balance between discipline and gentleness with the dogs
  • Ensure that the dogs have a great experience with you
  • Offer simple payment and subscription plans
  • Avoid taking the dogs to unsafe areas — stick to parks and public spaces
  • Keep emergency care with you, such as first-aid essentials for you and the dogs
  • Avoid rushing the walks and let the dogs enjoy themselves

The most important thing you can do to stand out is prioritize the dogs’ safety and enjoyment every step of the way. You must also build a genuine bond with both the dogs and the clients. Dog owners will gravitate to you if they know you are a good and wholesome person who will assuredly take good care of their dogs.

Build trust and focus on safety at all times and dog owners may eventually come to rely on you with their furry companions wholeheartedly.

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